Sunday, June 24, 2018
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Match play winner shoots ace

Holsten eliminated by champ in quarter-finals.

Gothenburg golfer Jeff Holsten made it all the way to the quarter-finals of the Nebraska Golf Association men’s match-play championship at Wild Horse Golf Club last week before he was eliminated by eventual tournament winner Kevin Stanek of Bellevue.

Stanek, a senior on the golf team at Creighton University, made eight birdies and a hole-in-one during the first 18 holes of the championship matchup against University of Nebraska at Kearney assistant golf coach Wes Bernt Saturday.

The scores add up to a 62 but it will not be considered a record at Wild Horse because Bernt conceded two putts and Stanek surrendered one.

John Hurley holds the Wild Horse record at 64.

Stanek went on to win 8-and-7 over Bernt in the 36-hole final to earn the trophy.

And Stanek had to go through Holsten to get there.

Holsten shot 78 in the qualifying round on Wednesday to make the initial cut.

It was his first time playing in a match play tournament.

“I’ve played in state stroke play events before,” Holsten said, “and I’ve always wanted to try match play. It made it convenient being at Wild Horse.”

Holsten said he golfs a couple of times a week and has a plus-1 handicap.

He said he likes the match play style because each hole scores separately, like 18 separate rounds.

“I’m not the kind of golfer these guys who play in these tournaments are,” he said. “I don’t have that kind of time.”

Holsten plays in a men’s league at Wild Horse and says he tries to get out there as often as he can between work and kids’ activities and home life.

Holsten defeated Ryan Conrad of Lincoln 6-and-5 in the lower bracket of the first match play round.

He beat Brian Csipkes of Gretna 4-and-2 in the second round to make it into the top 16.

It took Holsten 22 holes to beat Tad Leistico of Omaha and advance to the quarter-finals where he was paired against Stanek.

“For me, golf is just a game,” Holsten said. “There’s a fine line between being confident and being conceited. I mean, you have to go into the round believing you can win.”

Holsten said the difference between his earlier rounds and the quarter-final game against Stanek was a few bad shots that he didn’t have the first couple of days.

To get the best of a golfer like Stanek, Holsten said he would have had to have been at the tip-top of his game.

“I definitely did not have my best round,” Holsten said of Friday’s match. “I think I just ran out of gas. I’m not old. I’m only 37. But I’m not used to playing that many rounds of golf back to back like most of these guys play.”

Stanek won that quarter-final round 7-and-6 to eliminate Holsten.

He then defeated 2008 Nebraska Amateur champion Jayson Brueggemann of Lincoln with a par on the 18th hole to finish 2-up and advance to Saturday’s championship round.

Bernt beat Kyle Stanek in the first round, got past Colby Blackman of Norfolk in the second round and beat Nick Vondrak of Omaha in the round of 16 to advance to the quarter-finals.

Bernt then won 2-and-1 over Colin Craft of Omaha and beat Tyler Erwin of Norfolk in 21 holes to meet Stanek in the finals.

Preston Foster of Gothenburg and former Gothenburg golfer Travis Holm, now of Hickman, were eliminated in the first round but Gothenburg High School golfer Jackson Graham survived into the round of 16.

Graham shot 87 in stroke play to qualify and defeated Austin Zimmerman of Lincoln in 21 holes to advance.

Graham took a 2-and-1 win over Ryan Knispel of Omaha in the second round before falling to Richard Snyder of Beemer 3-and-1 in the round of 16.

The NGA men’s match-play championship is the second biggest amateur event in the state behind the stroke play championship, according to Wild Horse golf pro Doh Graham.